Northwestern finds the best ways to lose (and win)

As a Northwestern alumnus, it never fails to amuse me when the sports media seems to be shocked when NU loses it’s annual “shocker”. For example, Mike Downey from the Tribune recently found the NU loss to New Hampshire to be quite a shocker. But as an NU fan since I enrolled in the fall of ‘91, I have seen my fair share of shockers.

Who can forget the 1995 Rose Bowl team losing quite a shocker to Miami, OH (thanks Randy!), where they gave up a three touchdown lead in the fourth quarter, just a week after shocking Notre Dame.

Or how about the 2001 42-43 loss to Bowling Green, where NU gave up touchdowns, two point conversions, and onside kicks in a dizzying array of failures.

How about Brian Huffman missing five field goals in one game where NU had 637 yards of offense (wow!) and still lost the game. That was the same year we beat #7 Ohio State.

Or even better, look at the 2005 Sun Bowl where NU gave up a 22-0 lead, lost 50-38, and gave up 2, yes 2, onside kicks for touchdowns, both of them returned by the same guy. It was like watching an instant replay. Has that ever happened before in college football history? How about high school? Pee wee?

So, no, losing to New Hampshire (ranked #2 in NCAA Division 1-AA) was not a shocker. I was there, and most people didn’t even complain that much.

I don’t want to complain too much, though. I remember when I was in college, the idea that NU would ever be in a bowl, let alone beat Michigan (several times in great games), Ohio State (another all time great game), and Penn State (heck… every single Big Ten team, and lots of them in huge comebacks with last second heroics) in the years since I’ve graduated, win three Big Ten titles, and go to four bowl games was out of the question. I remember tearing down the goalposts after we beat #17 Illinois, running with them all the way to the lake, and tossing them in during a rainstorm. I guess things have changed.